Ashley Kingsey
Ashley is a SEO specialist at Ning.
Ashley Kingsey
Ashley Kingsey

5 Best Form Builder Tools to Use in 2019

What is the most versatile tool for generating leads, getting feedback from customers, and conducting market research? You must have already guessed — forms! 

As consumers, we hardly pay much attention to such seemingly insignificant things as online forms. That is, at least until we run into very annoying ones or forms that are too long or badly composed. In that case, it is hard to stay indifferent! 

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Ashley Kingsey
Ashley Kingsey

What Is Social Media ROI and How to Measure It?

Promoting your brand on social media can be a real time sink. At the end of the day, managing multiple social accounts, creating original posts, and engaging with the audience online is a lot of work. And let’s face it, social media marketing isn’t cheap too, especially if your strategy is based on paid advertising.

But do you know for sure how effective your social media efforts are? Do they bring you the desired results? And most importantly, what kind of results do you expect to achieve? Measuring your social media ROI can answer all of these questions and help you systemize and optimize your social media marketing. 

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Ashley Kingsey
Ashley Kingsey

10 Types of Social Media Video to Engage Your Audience

If
there’s anything on social media that captivates people more than
images, it is video. Just think how many times you have stumbled
across another funny piece that sucked you in for at least a couple
of minutes. It’s because videos are super engaging. Either
entertaining or educative, they are easy to consume and can deliver
tons of useful information while you just sit back and
relax.

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Ashley Kingsey
Ashley Kingsey

How to Make a GIF from a YouTube Video

With the rise of social media and online communication in general,
the need to express our emotions on the internet has grown, as much
as our desire to share fun content with others. This is why GIFs
have become so tremendously popular these days, especially with
younger generations. There’s no shortage of ready-to-use GIFs
available on the web. The entire GIF stock libraries are there so
you can just pick any piece you like, download it, and share with
your friends. But what if you’ve got an idea for an awesome GIF
that doesn’t exist yet? How to create a GIF from scratch? The
easiest solution is to make a GIF from a YouTube video, and we’re
going to teach you how to do it further in this article.

What is a GIF and what makes them so popular?

A GIF is a looped animated image. It can be viewed as a
form of visual content
that occupies the slot right between
static images and videos, having the benefits of both. On the one
hand, GIFs look like short video snippets. On the other hand, their
file size is almost as small as that of images. What not to like?

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Ashley Kingsey
Ashley Kingsey

What Is a Heat Map and How to Analyze It

There’s no shortage of ways to analyze the effectiveness of your online presence. You’ve got plenty of analytics tools capable of retrieving loads of data to help you optimize your business website and achieve higher conversion rates.

One of the widely-used methods of analyzing your on-page engagement and visitor behavior is heat mapping. What a heat map is and what kind of information it can provide you with, we will find out further in this article.

What is a heat map?

A heat map is a visual representation of how page visitors read through its content and interact with it. Its goal is to give you an idea of how much engagement different areas of your website pages generate. Thus, you can easily see which page sections draw the most of visitors’ attention and which are generally left out.

Figuratively speaking, analyzing a heat map is like looking at your website page through heat vision goggles. The “hot” areas of a page are highlighted with warmer colors like yellow and red, while the “cold” areas are green and blue.

The “temperature” is determined by how often and how long people look at or interact with specific parts of a page. The hottest areas indicate where exactly your visitors focus their attention and what actions they perform (or attempt to perform).

A heat map can be made using various tools widely available throughout the web. However, not all heat maps are alike.

Heat map types

There are multiple types of heat maps based on different signals and used for various purposes. The most common and widely used are scroll maps, click maps, and hover maps.

Scroll maps

These heat maps show how far your visitors scroll your page down before leaving. Scroll maps also allow you to see how much attention people pay to different sections of a page and how much time they spend focusing on each of them. Thus, the most engaging parts will be marked as the hottest, while those that get the least attention will be cold.

The greatest advantage of scroll maps is that they give you an insight into how long your audience is kept engaged throughout the entire page and where exactly they start to lose interest. Apparently, this heat map type is especially useful for analyzing long pages with a lot of content on them, for instance, blog pages or landing pages.

Depending on data obtained from a scroll map, you can organize your page better by putting the most important information in the hottest sections while leaving the rest of the content on the periphery. Following the same logic, you can place your converting elements (like CTAs, links or specific navigation cues) more strategically.

Furthermore, a scroll map can not only help you arrange your content more efficiently but also optimize your website design. For example, if a heat map suggests that visitors leave your page too early, perhaps there’s a strong disconnection in the design of its sections. In this case, it makes sense to unify the page design, use the colors that would make the entire user experience more seamless, etc.

Click maps

A click map allows you to see where exactly on your page visitors click and how frequently. The areas which get most of the clicks are considered the hottest. Thus, for example, you can immediately find out whether your CTAs are effective enough. If it turns out that your calls-to-action receive fewer clicks than expected, consider changing its location on the page or eliminating any distracting elements that are of less importance.

The same goes for links. A click map can show you which links on the page perform best and which are left unnoticed or generate no interest whatsoever. At the same time, you can see whether people click on the elements they think should be links but which are not (e.g., an image, unlinked logo in a header, highlighted text, etc.). In this case, you should consider placing links where visitors suppose they should be. This can facilitate your conversion rate and improve the overall user experience.

Hover maps

A hover map indicates where page visitors hover their cursor while reading through its content. The areas where a cursor hovers the longest are the hottest. Ideally, this type of heat map should represent how visitors’ attention is distributed across the page. It bases on the assumption that people point a cursor at the screen areas they are looking at.

However, this assumption doesn’t always justify itself. The research shows that 80% of people don’t actually show any correlation between eye tracking and mouse tracking. This finding questions the whole idea of using hover maps, leaving their accuracy and credibility under serious doubt.

But this doesn’t mean that hover maps are useless. While they often fail to explain how visitors scan through a page, these heat maps can give a basic insight into how people navigate a website. In this case, cursor positioning and mouse movements play the decisive role.

Key findings

To know how your specific website pages perform, you have to make your own heat maps and analyze them. This is the only way to figure out what works for your site and what needs improvement. But there are some general findings that heat maps allowed to unearth. And they can point you in the right direction when designing your website and creating content:

  • The most important information should be presented “above the fold”: Heat maps show that people rarely scroll down to the very end of a page. Usually, they do no more than a few scrolls before leaving.
  • People “scan” pages rather than read them entirely: Visitors don’t want to spend a lot of time on one single page. So the faster they can make it to the end, the likelier it is that they won’t abandon the page too early. To make your pages more scannable, use lists (bulleted or numbered), clear fonts and text formatting, distinct headings and subheadings, etc.
  • Images hold visitors’ attention: People’s attention span is very short. Therefore, you need to find ways to keep them engaged throughout the entire page. Eye-catching images generate a lot of engagement, so using them can keep visitors focused on your content for a longer time.

Conclusion

A heat map can help you understand the behavior of your website visitors and optimize pages better in terms of content and web design. However, relying solely on heat mapping is hardly a good way of analyzing your website performance.

Visualization is a very convenient but extremely subjective method. Therefore, most heat maps are open to different interpretations. Accurate and credible data can only be obtained when combining the heat map analysis with the use of advanced analytics tools.

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Ashley Kingsey
Ashley Kingsey

What Is Domain Authority?

Optimizing your website for search engines is hardly possible without following a broad array of metrics allowing you to identify how well your site ranks against the competitors and whether your online presence is visible enough to your potential clients.

One of such metrics is Domain Authority. But what does the term mean? What factors does it account for and how does it actually influence your SEO? If you own a business website or blog and want to know how well it performs on Google compared to other sites on the web, this article is for you.

What Is Domain Authority?

Domain Authority is a metric developed by Moz, one of the world-leading SEO consulting and software companies. It is a dynamically changing score which is meant to predict a website’s ranking ability on search engines.

The DA score ranges from one to 100 and scales logarithmically. This has two implications:

  • The better your website is supposed to rank, the higher score you get.
  • The higher your score is, the harder it is to top it. In other words, it is more challenging to go from 60 to 70 than from 20 to 40.

Aimed at identifying your search engine ranking potential, Domain Authority is based on the quantity and quality of inbound and outbound links. In this respect, it can be viewed as a third-party replacement for Google’s cryptic PageRank, a website ranking algorithm that evaluates a site’s authority by analyzing its backlinking catalog.

Although being a proprietary concept developed by a single company, Domain Authority is now widely used by webmasters and SEOs around the world to determine a website’s ability to rank on SERPs (search engine result pages).

A website’s DA score can be checked by using all sorts of SEO analytics software, including Moz’s free Chrome extension MozBar, as well as Link Explorer, SEMrush Backlink Checker, etc.

How does Domain Authority work?

The logic behind Domain Authority is pretty much the same as that of Google’s PageRank. The more sites with a good reputation link back to your website, the more authoritative it is supposed to be, and consequently, the higher ranking positions it should occupy.

The fundamental difference, however, is that Domain Authority applies to the entire website instead of just a specific page. This is why it is often taken as a benchmark by which a website’s overall “ranking strength” and credibility are measured.

As reported by Moz, Domain Authority is calculated by taking into account around 40 factors that point at a website ranking ability, including the number of inbound and outbound links, external and internal links, and the quality (authority and credibility) of web resources that link back to your site and are referred to. Thus, websites with an extensive backlinking catalog receive higher DA scores while brand new sites start with the score of one.

Another important thing to remember about Domain Authority (which Moz has emphasized multiple times) is that it is by no means an absolute measure. The DA score is relative as it is obtained as a result of juxtaposing the metrics of your website to those of the absolute leaders like Google, Wikipedia, Facebook, etc. These sites have a score of 100.

As a consequence, even if you take good care of your website SEO and keep acquiring quality links, you’re not immune to occasional drops of Domain Authority. If that happens, there are two ways to interpret it: either your SEO requires more attention or the top websites out there have experienced a significant surge in the number of links acquired.

In other words, the leading sites cannot exceed the score limit of 100, therefore, they retain their current score while all the rest are leveled down proportionally. This is why Domain Authority is a relative and dynamic metric.

Why follow Domain Authority?

Although Domain Authority doesn’t reflect your absolute position on the web in terms of search engine ranking, it can show you how your website ranks (or can potentially rank) as opposed to your competitors. So if your DA score is not as high as you think it should be, don’t stress out. The best thing you can do is check the Domain Authority of other players in your niche. If yours is higher, you have nothing to worry about.

At the same time, if you’re actively doing link building, tracking other sites’ Domain Authority can help you figure out which websites should be targeted to get juicer links. Sites with a higher score are more likely to give you a better exposure online and drive more traffic to your website.

However, it is important to differentiate Domain Authority from Page Authority. The former gives you a big picture of how a given website should rank on search engines considering its linking profile. The latter accounts for the ranking strength as well but comes down to a single web page, regardless of the authority of the entire site. Thus, the difference between DA and PA scores can be quite substantial as Page Authority accounts only for the links related to a specific page.

How to increase your Domain Authority?

The truth is, there’s no easy or fast way of influencing your Domain Authority score. Your DA is a result of your efforts to build a user-friendly website, create quality content, maintain your audience, and enhance SEO.

Following your Domain Authority is a great way to evaluate and approximate your chances of getting higher ranking positions on SERPs. But increasing the score shouldn’t be a goal in itself. Instead, it is advised to focus on improving your website as a whole, delivering the best content and user-experience possible. As long as your content is unique, useful, and engaging, your website will attract more visitors, get more exposure, grow an authority, and earn more high-quality links as a result. Meanwhile, keep an eye on your SEO to make sure your site complies to the best webmaster practices. Using effective SEO tools and conducting occasional SEO audits will help you keep afloat on SERPs.

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